Following on from last week’s Irish Open at Lahinch, we have another great week of links golf to look forward to at the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick and, as always, to make things even more interesting Paddy have priced up a variety of ‘speciality’ markets for us to cast our eye over.
Firstly, looking at the First Round Leader market we initially need to look at the weather forecast – as was the case this time last week.
At Lahinch there was a clear indication from the forecast that winds would pick up throughout the day and this led us to focus on the early starters. Needless to say, though, in time honoured weather forecasting tradition this proved to be wrong and it is therefore probably a good thing that the forecast for Thursday doesn’t appear to show any great advantage for the AM or PM draw.
On that basis I will take a prudent approach and take one from each half of the draw with my man from the morning wave being veteran Lee Westwood.
Calling Lee a veteran implies that he already has one eye firmly on Champions Tour golf, however at 46 years old he is still a few years away from joining his pension meal-ticket and the golf he has produced over the past twelve months shows he can still very much compete at this level.
Westwood posted his 24th European Tour victory last November and he is of particular interest to me in this market because in his last two outings on the links in the UK and Ireland, at Hillside in May and then last week in Lahinch, he has opened up with rounds of 66.
Clearly comfortable on links courses and playing completely pressure free golf at the moment Westwood has posted three top 25 finishes in his last three starts and he is fancied to get out of the gates quickly again this week from his 8.40am tee time.
From the afternoon wave I will then take my chances with Rickie Fowler. I mentioned in my outright preview that I was happy to pass on Rickie this week as I felt that he would have one eye on Royal Portrush already.
While I believe this to be true, if we look at Rickie’s results in weeks directly proceeding a major going back to the beginning of 2018 we see that he has posted opening rounds of 68, 63, 64 and 66, with the 64 coming in last year’s Scottish Open.
Basically, there is a clear pattern here: Rickie starts quickly before, perhaps, taking his foot off the gas as the week progresses as he starts to think ahead to the following week’s Major. With that in mind I am happy to chance Rickie to sprint out of the blocks quickly again this week when he tees it up at 1.40pm.
Moving on to the top international markets and one that I am drawn to here is Edoardo Molinari in the Top Italian market. Molinari is not yet qualified for next week’s Open Championship and with brother Francesco defending the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush he is desperate to be there. Edoardo posted his first two wins on the European Tour in Scotland so he no doubt has a great affinity to the Land of the Brave.
Ninth last week in Ireland and third a couple of weeks prior at the BMW the elder Molinari is clearly a man on a mission at the moment and I am confident he can prevail in this market.
Another good week at the dubaidutyfreeirishopen at the fantastic @lahinchgolfclub! 🍀
A few too many silly bogeys but the game is trending in the right direction…especially the driving! 👍🏻
Shame about not getting a… https://t.co/etrdzgS4AS
— Edoardo Molinari (@DodoMolinari) July 7, 2019
Next in the Top Rest Of The World market and with Paddy paying to five places e/w here I am happy to take a chance on the in-form Malaysian Gavin Green. Ninth and eighth on his last two starts it is only a matter of time until this hugely talented player delivers a breakthrough European Tour win and I can see another strong performance coming this week from the man who was 19th in this event last year.
Finally in the Top 30 finish market I shall take my chances on Englishman, Paul Waring. Waring was seventh in Ireland last week, sixth on the links in Hillside and he is fancied to perform strongly again this week.